You were wrong

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My message to anyone who is in love with an abuser

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I know it’s hard. I’ve been there. In love with someone who hurt me.

I’ve tried telling myself that everything is fine and it’s all going to work out somehow.  Convinced myself that I could make things better. I’ve taken on the mission to bring back the perfect relationship so that I didn’t have to leave. Stayed on my best behavior. I’ve been brave and forgiving and promised that I would always be there.

I’ve tried to rationalize away the feelings. Ripped up pictures. Given myself pep talks about why I deserve more. Reached out to other people for help. Tried drinking until I was numb. Pretended like I didn’t care. I’ve practiced the conversation in my head over and over of exactly how I would say each word “I can’t be with you anymore. You’re not good for me. I’m leaving you.” Only to feel the terror pull back the words before they make it through my lips.

Back and forth I’ve gone. Back and forth. Losing pieces of myself. Slowly. Like grains of sand falling through an hourglass.  Counting down until I was completely empty and numb. And then I’ve thought, “Maybe I’m the crazy one. Maybe I’m just lucky that anyone loves me. Maybe this is as good as it gets.”

I know what it’s like to be in a place where the only thing worse than staying is leaving. And the only things worse than leaving is to stay.

I know what it’s like to feel loneliest when you are with laying right next to someone. I know how hard those nights are. The ones spent staring at the numbers on the clock as they change, one by one, second by second through the night. I know the painful mornings. Standing in the shower staring at the water falling down the drain, hardly feeling the drops against my face. I know the coldness of the bathroom tile against my cheek. I’ve laid there, on that floor with you. Praying. Wishing. Silently begging for someone to help me and to tell me what I am supposed to do.

If you are wondering if there’s something better out there…if there’s more in store for you, the answer is yes.

Yes. Yes. Yes. A million, trillion times, YES.

There is so much more in life. More love. More adventures. More heartbreak too, but also more growing and learning. If you are stuck in a relationship with someone who hurts you, you might not be able to see it right now, but don’t let go of the promise of something more. Listen to that nagging voice inside that knows deep down that you deserve better. You are so much stronger than you think. You’re so much smarter than you know. You’re fucking awesome and you only get this one life to be the person you were made to be. Don’t give that life to someone else. Don’t let it go. Don’t feel guilty or selfish about fighting for yourself. You owe it to the universe. To whatever God you believe in. To your children (current or future). You owe it to that person out there that you might not have met yet that wants to love you the right way. But most importantly, you owe it to yourself.

I used to wait for a sign. For some outside source to tell me that I wasn’t going nuts and that I needed to get out. Get away. Start fighting for myself. If you are like me, and are waiting for a sign….this is it. From someone who has been to the deepest depth of the hell of abuse. From someone who believed it was impossibile to break up with my abuser. From someone who could barely make it through the night a few years ago… Trust me. It’s hard. It hurts like hell. But leave. It is the most important thing you will ever do. He’s not going to change. Things aren’t going to get better if you stay. You already know what you should do so trust yourself.

“Future you” says thanks.


The Best Response I’ve read to the Daniel Tosh “Rape Joke” Incident

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The incident between comedian Daniel Tosh and a female audience member that happened recently at the Hollywood Laugh Factory involving a rape joke has been all over the place lately. I’ve seen a lot of buildup making this incident into a feud between feminists and comedic freedom.

I came across Austin area comedian, Curtis Luciani’s response a few days ago and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. No matter what your feelings about the Tosh incident are, I think this is a must read. It goes beyond this particular rape joke and is the best response I have read in regard to this issue.

(Warning: Graphic. Includes language that may be offensive to some people. Also, may be triggering)

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Let’s imagine a world in which women cut men’s dicks off. Like, frequently. To the extent that one in five men has had his dick cut off by a woman or had a woman attempt to cut his dick off.

(I apologize immediately if it sounds like I’m being flip. I am not being flip. Imagine the pain and shame and humiliation of someone cutting your dick off. Imagine it in earnest.)

Sometimes it’s a clear-cut case where a woman attacks you in the street, out of nowhere, and cuts your dick off. But more often it’s a situation where you actually know the woman, maybe you trust her, maybe you think everything’s okay, and then one day she cuts your dick off.

Still with me? This is going to take a while. I’ll tell you when I’m done. (And if you think I’m being insufferably self-righteous: Good news, you don’t have to read this!)

Okay, now let’s also say that the shame and guilt around having your dick cut off is so strong that many dick-cuttings go completely unreported. After all, someone is likely to raise the question of whether or not you were “asking for it” in one way or another. And if you do accuse a woman of cutting your dick off, you can expect to see people (quite naturally) rally to her defense and slander your character in response.

You can expect to see her friends… who are maybe also friends or yours… shrug their shoulders and say “Well, I don’t know, it’s complicated… it sounds like something was just happening between the two of them and maybe it got out of hand. I dunno. But I know that Sarah’s not a bad gal. I know she would never, like, MALICIOUSLY cut a dude’s dick off.”

So, a shitty state of affairs for the men-folk of our imaginary world, yes?

Now imagine that in this world, something like 90 percent of professional performing comedians are women. And they’ve accepted that there are certain codes of behavior when it comes to comedy. Most people who “like comedy” generally accept the premise that there are no subject areas that cannot be somehow given a comic treatment, but it is also accepted, as a practical rule, that as the subject gets more troubling, more intense, more painful, a more skilled approach is necessary to find the humor in it.

However, it is also accepted that people are people and they are going to have authentic responses to things. It is accepted, for example, that you probably should not go in front of an audience that contains several black people and start tossing around the n-word unless you have an EXCEPTIONALLY sophisticated and road-tested routine built around it, one that you are confident will overcome the very significant risk you are incurring. If a comedian did this and did NOT overcome the risk, no one would be shocked if the audience shouted her down and stormed her out of the club, nor would anyone be particularly eager to defend her.

HOWEVER, there’s this ONE thing. Many of the comediennes of this world have this ONE little sticking point. One little thing. It just IRKS the hell out of them that they can’t seem to make jokes about cutting dicks off without some whiny pussy male in the audience throwing a shit fit about it!

Now, sure, there’s a few comediennes at the top of their game who can pull it off. Their approach is skillful, and they somehow make the joke without minimalizing or trivializing the actual pain involved. But then the rest of them think, “Well, geez, if they can do it, why can’t I? It’s not fair, darn it! I should be able to work with the same material as someone much better than me and get the same result and not make anyone hate me or say mean things about me on the Internet! Waaaaahhh!

“I mean, after all, do that many men REALLY get their dicks cut off? I’ve heard the statistic, but that’s probably overblown. And I bet a lot of them were asking for it. I mean, in any case, there’s a lot of grey area. I know one thing for sure: none of the men I KNOW has ever had his dick cut off. If they had, they would tell me, right? I mean, right? And besides, there’s a principle at stake here. I AM AN ARTIST. I should be able to say whatever shitty thing I want, and people should be able to suppress their authentic response to it!

“And if they DON’T suppress their authentic response to it: why, that’s censorship or something! Besides, I know this and that example of a time where a comedienne I know made a joke that wasn’t even ABOUT dick-cutting, and some whiny pussy dude got upset about it anyway! It’s just these humorless masculinists! They can’t take a joke about anything anyway. So, since I can think of examples where a comedienne was unfairly criticized by someone without a sense of humor, this must be what happens in all cases.”

Okay, I think we see what I’m getting at here.

Fine, yes, WHAT-THE-FUCK-EVER. I will concede the following points that every comedian wants us all so badly to concede:

1) Theoretically, there is no subject that should be considered off-limits for humor.

2) There will always be some example where a performer of extremely high skill can take something very painful and make it work.

But…

Here’s what YOU need to understand:

1) Rape is way, WAY more prevalent than you seem to think it is. Are there more than five women in your audience? You do the math, and then you run the little fantasy scenario that I just put together in your head, and you tell me how it feels.

2) I ain’t buying any of that “If I can make jokes about genocide, why can’t I make jokes about rape?” Horseshit, unless you made those genocide jokes during a gig at the Srebrenica Funny Bone. You got away with making a joke about genocide because your odds of having a holocaust survivor’s kid in the audience were pretty fucking low.

And if you did happen to have one in the audience, and he heckled you, walked out, and wrote something nasty on the internet… would you be more likely to be a human being and say “Wow. I can understand why that person’s authentic response to what I was doing was so emotional and negative. Maybe my genocide material just isn’t good enough to justify the pain that it inflicts. Maybe I need more skill in order to pull this off.” Or are you gonna be a lousy piece of shit and say, “Yeah, I apologize, I guess, IF YOU WERE OFFENDED.”

Offended hasn’t got anything to do with it, moron.

People have wounds, and those wounds are painful. That doesn’t have shit to do with the weak concept of “taking offense.” If someone talks about Texas being a shitty state, I might “take offense” at that. Fine, whatever. All of us who like comedy are generally in agreement with the idea that “taking offense” is lame, and a comedian should be willing to “offend” whenever he or she wants to.

But causing pain is quite a different fucking matter. Your job as a comedian is to take us through pain, transcend pain, transform pain. And if you don’t get that, you are a fucking bully, and I’ve got zero time for bullies.